Sunday, August 18, 2019

Township consolidation law may be first of many government reduction efforts – State Journal-Register

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Pritzker signs bill to allow graduate students to unionize, 48 other bills – Center Square

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All-powerful Madigan catching heat from multiple angles – News-Gazette

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Why a $1.2 billion gambling mecca has fallen on hard times – NYT

A lesson for Illinois: New York’s newest casinos are already struggling for survival, as an oversaturated market has cannibalized gaming revenue.

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Illinois Justice Pays Back 4 Years of Erroneous Homeowners Exemption – NBC Chicago

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Appeals court: State of IL can sue community colleges accused of boosting student success numbers to boost state money – Cook County Record

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Starting a pot shop will be hard, expensive in Illinois – Fox IL

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Judge hears arguments on Illinois taxpayer lawsuit on general obligation bonds – The Bond Buyer

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The Bond Raters Still Need To Be Fixed – Financial Analyst Mag.

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Hedge Fund Seeking to Void Illinois Debt Made Wager on Default – Bloomberg

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White Again Says He Won’t Run for 7th Term – NBC Chicago

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Taxpayer suit says state constitution drafters would be ‘horrified’ to see long-term debt issued to fund Illinois’ structural budget deficits – Cook County Record

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Illinois congressional Republicans intent on blocking Blagojevich clemency – Chicago Sun-Times

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Illinois joins lawsuit against new Trump administration rules denying green cards to immigrants on food stamps – ABC Chicago

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Invasive ‘jumping worms’ find their way to Illinois, wreaking havoc on soil – WGN

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Cullerton charges show how polticians say one thing, do another – Jim Dey – News-Gazette

While Cullerton made a public show of denying himself a legislative pension for which he was legally qualified, he was — allegedly — stealing one from the Teamsters.

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State seeks to disbar ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich from practicing law more than 8 years after conviction – Chicago Tribune

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Illinois passes law requiring insurance companies to cover EpiPen injections for children in historic first – The Hill

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How an overlooked facet of the weed law could trip up two of the industry’s biggest players – Crain’s

The fine print in the state's 610-page recreational marijuana bill could provide some challenges to getting retail sales up and running by Jan. 1

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Nancy Pelosi urges Democrats to ‘catch the spark of Illinois’ in speech kicking off Governor’s Day at Illinois State Fair – Video – Herald & Review

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New group opposing graduated income tax puts Madigan in the middle – Crain’s

The face is that of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, whose visage—literally—appears on stationery of the newly formed Vote No on Blank Check Committee and likely will dominate millions of dollars in coming TV ads from the group over the next year and a half. "The people of Illinois understand that for 34 years Madigan has been at the center of every major issue in this state, and that he’s at the center of this one,” said committee Chairman Greg Baise, who runs another group, Ideas Illinois, that has been criticizing the tax plan.

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Comptroller Susana Mendoza signs executive order ensuring state infrastructure money spent using prevailing wage – Center Square

Comment: This assures that the state will vastly overspend on its capital projects. The prevailing wage law in Illinois is a rigged farce, as we wrote before. The average total full-time-equivalent compensation, including benefits, for all job categories over all counties is $119,000.

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No one wants real pension solutions more than union firefighters and police – Opinion – Crain’s

President of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois in Springfield: "We look forward to showing that unions want real pension funding solutions, because firefighters deserve to know their retirement will be there and taxpayers should finally be confident it’s being funded in the most efficient manner."

 

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Investment houses question motives of hedge fund behind Illinois GO lawsuit – The Bond Buyer

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Illinois one of 11 states that lets departing lawmakers immediately become lobbyists – IL Policy

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Nearly 40% of education spending consumed by pension costs – IL Policy

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Bill requiring sick pay disclosure for some pensioners becomes law – Center Square

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Federal lawsuit over Illinois law could cost Facebook billions with payouts of thousands of dollars per user – Center Square

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State Tax Collectors Want You – WSJ

The Supreme Court last year gave states a green light to collect online sales tax from out-of-state businesses without setting guardrails. And what do you know? States are now testing the limits of their taxing power and creating a web of regulatory trip-wires for small businesses. Some states like Arkansas, Colorado and Illinois exclude “marketplace” sales on sites like Amazon and eBay from their thresholds for individual sellers, but many do not. And some states require marketplaces to collect sales tax for third-party retailers. The upshot is that a retailer who sells on eBay, Shopify and Amazon will exceed different state thresholds at different times.

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Questions About Illinois Supreme Court Justice and Property Exemption – NBC Chicago

An Illinois Supreme Court Justice has received a homeowners exemption on a home where he doesn’t live.

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Pritzker has signed 370 bills thus far, vetoed 3 – Capitol News IL

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Investor Behind Illinois Bond Suit Made Short Bet Tied to Case, Funds Claim – Bloomberg

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Releasing elderly prison inmates could save Illinois a fortune — without endangering public – Chicago Sun-Times

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While Chicago jumps on the ethics reform bandwagon, General Assembly rules remain lax. Where’s the outrage? – Chicago Tribune

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AG rules DCFS improperly withheld information – Fox IL

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Illinois Democrats worry about state census count – Crain’s

In a letter today to U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, all 15 Democratic members of the state's Washington delegation expressed "concern" about the status of preparations...

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Here’s what taxpayers need to watch for as Illinois’ $45 billion infrastructure plan takes shape – Center Square

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker approves dozens of bills, including criminal-justice reform; vetoes teacher competency measure – The Center Square

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Illinois sports betting stalls while Indiana, Iowa poised to launch books in weeks – Chicago Sun-Times

Even though the state’s massive gaming expansion was signed into law over six weeks ago, the Illinois Gaming Board still has to draft hundreds of rules governing application and oversight procedures that aren’t spelled out in the law. And while state lawmakers initially said they thought sports betting could launch in Illinois in time for the NFL kickoff in September — or at least by the Super Bowl in February — there’s no rollout in sight.

All operators would have to pay $1 million to renew licenses every four years. After that, Illinois will take a 15% tax on all sports-betting revenue. That’s jacked up to 17% in Cook County, with the extra two points supporting the county’s criminal justice system.

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This Social Security rule cuts public workers’ benefits. Politicians want to change that – CNBC

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Pritzker signs bill aimed at ‘changing culture’ in workplace on sexual harassment – Capitol News IL

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Illinois Is the Canary in the Pension Coal Mine, Says Adam Schuster – Reason

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Where Americans Are Moving — And Where They’re Moving Out – Lending Tree

"Among the five states that experienced the biggest net drop in adjusted gross income – Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and New York – around half of the income those states lost came from people earning more than $200,000 a year."

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ICE raids in Mississippi prompt Chicago-area groups to take action – ABC Chicago

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Chicago Teachers Are Threatening To Strike Against New Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Here’s Why. – In These Times

A view from the left.

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The bizarre Blagojevich interview I never wrote about – Sneed – Chicago Sun-Times

Conducted in Denver, the location of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Blago’s silver mane was still bottle brown; his demeanor gracious but frenetic, and his insistence on reciting poetry by the legendary British writer Rudyard Kipling was … well, weird.

The poem was called “If”; a primer for becoming “A Man.”

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Beware of the disinformation campaign against a fairer tax for Illinois – Editorial – Chicago Sun-Times

Comment: Too bad they didn't address the actual objections to the tax.

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Hundreds of small pension funds statewide face troubling debt. Is consolidation the way to go? – Chicago Tribune

Comment: Administrative consolidation is a good idea but won't move the needle much, which these authors failed to emphasize.

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Blagojevich to be released from prison soon, sources say – Fox Chicago

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Lake in the Hills approves over 9% hike to police pension levy – IL Policy

They are hardly alone. Illinois state and local governments spend more on pensions as a percentage of revenue than any other state – and nearly double the national average.

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Illinois takes fiscal booby prize – Editorial – News-Gazette

State's financial situation is worst in the nation and hasn't necessarily bottomed

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Pritzker promises over $10B in new spending on $3.4B progressive tax hike – IL Policy

Loaves & fishes.

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Another look at property taxes – Editorial – News-Gazette

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Federal appeals panel: Facebook must face class action under IL privacy law over face-scanning photo tags – Cook County Record

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Illinois state employees start to get their back wages – KHQA

Some state agencies have begun to send out vouchers for back pay withheld by the previous administration. State agencies have been calculating the amounts owed to each employee, and the first few checks and electronic deposits are coming through.

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Governing.com To Close

Comment: Another sad result of the tough media environment. They were a major source of news about state and local government, and we often posted their stories here.

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New law eliminates basic skills test for Illinois teachers – WIFR

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Lots of options on table to fund transportation – State Journal-Register

The federal government pays for 80 percent of major highway projects in Illinois — and both Davis and Graves said Illinois is poised to gain federal matching funds. “The state legislature passed a robust capital bill,” Davis said, funded in part by a doubling of the state’s gasoline tax from 19 cents to 38 cents. “We have to live up to our end of the bargain by putting a highway bill together to make sure that those improvements go to every community in Illinois. I want to see more diversification. I want to see less volatility when it comes to the Highway Trust Fund.”

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Emails, texts show playful exchanges between political blogger, Pritzker staff over Confederate Railroad cancellation – Center Square

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Attorney General Raoul condemns federal “expedited removal” process – Press Release

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Illinois home construction among lowest in the nation in 2018, report finds – Center Square

Illinois had 17 new homes built per 10,000 people last year. That’s far below the national average of 41 new homes built per 10,000 people.

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Pritzker signs ‘online checkbook’ measure for state Comptroller – Center Square

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President Trump ‘strongly’ considering commuting Rod Blagojevich’s sentence – ABC Chicago

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Old Computers Causing Big Problems For Illinois State Offices – CBS Chicago

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Illinois Finances: Far From “Stable” – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Citizen files complaint to Legislative Inspector General over Sen. Cullerton’s indictment – Center Square

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Property Tax Relief Task Force should start with consolidation – Opinion – Center Square

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Report shows meth making a comeback in rural Illinois – Center Square

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Innovation Pie: U Of I Divvies Up $500M State Funds – NPR IL

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Educators trusted with babies and toddlers don’t make a living wage — Illinois wants to change this – Chalkbeat

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Illinois state employee published boat owners’ social security numbers – MyStateLine

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Following A National Trend, Illinois’ Equal Pay Act Now Bars Employers From Asking Job Applicants About Their Salary History – JD Supra

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How much should schools pay for students’ bigotry? Wilmington IL discrimination suit could define standard, set pattern – Cook County Record

A family in far southern Will County, on the edge of the Chicago area, hopes to make taxpayers and a group of school administrators pay after school officials there allegedly turned a deaf ear to years of racially-motivated bullying directed at their bi-racial son.

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Sen. Tom Cullerton replaced as Labor Committee chair – Capitol News IL

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University of Illinois study finds government corruption costs business, 401(k) plans millions – Center Square

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In Illinois, investors come before children – ChicagoNow

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Cook County home values down 31%, property taxes up 22% since 2007 – IL Policy

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Report: Illinois underfunds tobacco cessation program – Capitol News IL

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Culture of Corruption – Eric Allie Cartoon

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Tax Credit Extension Aims to Cement Film Industry’s Local Foothold – WTTW

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Coalition asks lawmakers to ‘Bet on Main Street’ and against higher video game taxes – Prairie State Wire

A coalition of Illinois small businesses recently spoke out against the hardships a proposed video-gaming tax hike would cause them.

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League of Women Voters demands equal pay – 1IL

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Corruption costs Illinois taxpayers at least $550 million per year – IL Policy

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/corruption-costs-illinois-taxpayers-at-least-550m-per-year/

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Pritzker signs bill bipartisan group says will save taxpayers on Medicaid costs – Center Square

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Lightfoot, Pritzker blast Trump for dog whistles and environment fostering attacks on ‘people of color and immigrants’ – Chicago Sun-Times

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Finance expert speaks out on Democratic bills to fund affordable housing through property taxes – Chambana Sun

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Illinois lawmakers prepare to drill to center of admissions scandal – Center Square

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State of Illinois to offer St. Louis Cardinals license plates – Chicago Tribune

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Illinois ponies up big money to expand rural broadband – The Southern

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The biggest problem with the ‘fair tax’ – Opinion – Crain’s

"First, the progressive income tax would fund just four months of a single year's pension payment. The money would all be spent before even accounting for new spending Pritzker has proposed, such as universal pre-school or a state-run public option health insurance plan." "Second, lawmakers must be honest about why previous, larger tax hikes have failed to deliver on their promises. The 2011 income tax hike was supposed to fix our ballooning unpaid bill backlog and mounting pension debt. The 2017 income tax hike was supposed to balance the budget." "Third, lawmakers must be honest with their constituents about a lack of true reform. Needed constitutional amendments such as term limits, fair political maps, a balanced budget requirement and most important, pension reform, remain absent. The structural problems that have brought the state to the brink remain firmly intact—not to be questioned by voters."

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What Illinois Can Learn From the Supreme Court of Rhode Island and Even Puerto Rico About Public Pension Reform – MuniNet Guide

"This article provides the legal basis for Illinois and other states to justify needed and reasonable modifications of public pension benefits that are unaffordable and insurmountable through pension reform legislation or a Constitutional Amendment. This article discusses and explains why all states can learn and should follow what the U.S. Supreme Court and virtually all state courts have vigilantly protected as the necessary and required attribute of government for the benefit of all."

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Illinois Enacted FY2020 Budget Part II: The Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan – Civic Federation

A nice breakdown of where the new capital spending will go, by category, and how it will be paid for.

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Illinois marijuana growers spent about $600,000 on political giving leading to the pot legalization vote. Here’s where the money went. – Chicago Tribune

More than $120,000 went to campaign and political funds tied to just one of those legislators, state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park, a main sponsor of the 2018 bill expanding medical marijuana in the state.

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Aggressive feds strike again: The indictment of Sen. Tom Cullerton – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

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Here’s the ‘unsavory,’ legal way rich Illinois teens are getting college aid – New York Post

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Illinois’ revolving door from public office to paid lobbyist – Editorial – Daily Herald

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State of Illinois Budget Summary – COGFA

All the detail you might want on the budget for the new fiscal year that began last month, from Illinois' Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

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New IL job ‘interview bot’ A.I. law could boost lawsuit risks for employers – Cook County Record

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COGFA’s July report on State of Illinois revenue

Continued healthy growth in revenue from personal income and sales taxes.

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Illinois Lawmakers Call Hearing to “Demand Answers” and Find Ways to Close a Loophole in College Financial Aid Scandal – ProPublica

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State Sen. Thomas Cullerton indicted on charges he pocketed $275,000 from union for little or no work – Chicago Tribune

State Sen. Thomas Cullerton indicted on charges he pocketed $275,000 from union for little or no work

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U.S. Midwest manufacturing in contraction amid trade tension – Reuters

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Pritzker signs bill to create bipartisan Property Tax Relief Task Force – Center Square

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‘Tough’ new Illinois Gaming Board chairman faced with massive gambling expansion – Chicago Sun-Times

The aptly nicknamed Charles ‘Chip’ Schmadeke is getting ready for a whirlwind bidding process for six new and highly coveted casino licenses. Ex-bosses say he has the right temperament for the high-stakes, low-glamor job.

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Illinois’ film tax credit program is theatrically bad – Il Policy

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Public finance watchdog warns Illinois taxpayers about reports from credit rating agencies – Center Square

Truth In Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman said taxpayers need to be cautious of such reports. Credit rating agencies are looking out for bondholders.

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Illinois’ sesame labeling law likely to pull nation’s food producers into the requirement – Center Square

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Pritzker signs film tax credit to encourage TV, movie production in Illinois – Center Square

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Gerrymandering and Gov. Pritzker’s promises – Editorial – Chicago Tribune

The question now is whether he is prepared to follow through on his commitment even if it means taking on the entrenched powers in Springfield. We hope he can count on the staunch, vocal support of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is also on record in favor of the change.

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State says Illinois foreign language teachers have to emphasize word cultures – Capitol News IL

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Meet the people working to kick Chicago out of Illinois – Chicago Tribune

Comment: It's best seen as a primal scream of frustration and disgust.

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Report: Stable Housing For Former Prisoners Could Save Illinois $100 Million Per Year – WBEZ

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This is fine – Eric Allie Cartoon

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High tied? Pot bill sponsor sees no conflict in spouse’s new job – Chicago Sun-Times

Candace Gingrich will serve as vice president and head of business development for Revolution Florida, a sister company to Illinois-based Revolution Enterprises.

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Senate confirms Mary Rowland for federal judge in Chicago: Pick of Durbin, Duckworth part of ‘Illinois deal’ – Chicago Sun-TImes

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Illinois State Parks Face $1 Billion In Delayed Maintenance; ‘You Have To Prioritize’ – CBS Chicago

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New Law Bans Employers From Asking About Salary History – NPR IL

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Pritzker signs equal pay, criminal justice reform bills – Capitol News IL

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Governor to investigate after reports of potential tuition assistance fraud – Center Square

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Journal Star dances with Wall Street — again – Community Word

GateHouse Media, owner of the Journal Star, is in merger talks with Gannett, owner of USA Today and dozens of other newspapers across the country. If the deal closes, the merger would result in one Wall Street corporation owning the nation’s two largest newspapers groups by circulation.

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A Illinois gets a rating outlook reward from Fitch – The Bond Buyer

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Pritzker signs good government bill to show taxpayers how much of their property taxes go to developers – IL Policy

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Illinois imposing car trade-in tax on Jan. 1; Dealers call it double taxation – IL Policy

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The demise of Illinois’ flat tax – Badger Institute

Switching to a progressive income tax structure would drive Illinois even further behind Wisconsin.

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Dollars & Sense: Madigan Campaign Paid $1.2M in Legal Fees Over 2 Years – NBC Chicago

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Closing a hospital now more difficult in Illinois – Capitol News IL

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One-third of Illinoisans face debt collectors, according to Heartland Institute – Fox Chicago

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Illinois Pension Buyout Program Falls over $400 Million Short of Goal – Chief Investment Officer

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651 new Illinois public pensioners average $1.3M in estimated retirement benefits – IL Policy

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Illinois in investigators’ crosshairs, but but no reforms on horizon – Opinion – Daily Herald

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Pritzker says Illinois’ gambling expansion to reverse trend of other states winning – Center Square

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Pritzker’s veto leaves door open for yet-to-surface Medicaid buy-in plan – Center Square

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Is Illinois a low tax state? – Stump

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Plaintiffs in Illinois bond challenge argue for their case to be heard – The Bond Buyer

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A salute to our Illinois National Guard troops headed to Afghanistan – Editorial – Chicago Sun-Times

"We’d like to take a moment to express our appreciation for the Illinois National Guard troops now headed to Afghanistan. To them we say, 'Godspeed and good luck.'"

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Ex-labor leader pleads guilty in extortion case and will cooperate with Feds – Chicago Sun-Times

A onetime labor leader with ties to several prominent Illinois politicians pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday in a lesser-known extortion case that still threatens to reach deep into the state’s halls of power. As part of his plea deal, former Teamster chief John T. Coli will cooperate with the feds in other investigations. Coli admitted to taking part in a scheme to extort $325,000 from Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, the clout-heavy studio that is home to such hit TV shows as “Chicago Fire” and “Empire.” He pleaded guilty to receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return.

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Illinois governor signs bill cracking down on coal ash pits, requiring companies to pay for future cleanup – Center Square

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Parents Are Giving Up Custody of Their Kids to Get Need-Based College Financial Aid – ProPublica

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New law to show Illinois property taxpayers cost of TIF districts – Center Square

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Most and Least Expensive States to Build a Home – Yahoo News

Illinois is sixth worst but has highest labor costs.

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From #MeToo to GoFundMe: Ousted Madigan aide’s sisters seek donations after his ‘life was turned upside down‘ – Chicago Sun-Times

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Pritzker signs bill aimed at limiting high-interest consumer debt – Capitol News IL

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Top Illinois Democrats take wait-and-see approach after FBI raids members of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle – Center Square

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How Illinois pols have pocketed more than $5 million in what Barack Obama once dubbed ‘legalized bribery’ – Chicago Sun-Times

Dozens of former elected officials have kept campaign cash for themselves. It’s all legal under a loophole in the state’s ethics reform. ‘I’m the charity,’ says one ex-legislator who pocketed $583,357 — the biggest money-grab. A few examples:

Last year, former 36th Ward Ald. William J.P. Banks wrote himself a $291,708 check when he shut down his campaign committee, and former Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont took $36,157 from her still-active campaign fund.

Some other big beneficiaries of campaign cashouts: former state Sen. James DeLeo, D-Chicago, who took $271,681, and ex-state Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano, R-Elmwood Park, keeping $219,093. Each took the money in 2013.

Then there’s former state Rep. Ralph Capparelli, D-Chicago, who walked away with $583,357 between 2006 and 2010 — more than anyone else has pocketed in this legalized money-grab.

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Pritzker is clear on his progressive views – Journal-Register

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As corruption looms large in Illinois, Pritzker reforms are MIA – IL Policy

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Illinois is making it hard — and expensive — to get a license to sell legal marijuana – Belleville News-Democrat

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America’s Public Pensions Are Stuck In The Clouds – Wall Street Journal

The funding strength of retirement systems across the U.S. rests on rosy assumptions. The very fact that stocks and bonds have enjoyed bountiful returns since the 1980s explains why they probably won’t in the future.

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Lawmakers: Push for affordable housing solutions just beginning – Capitol News IL

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Task force to study property tax relief in Illinois – Journal-Register

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Pritzker vetoes bill prohibiting waivers from Affordable Care Act – Capitol News IL

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Connecting the dots on Mike Madigan, ComEd lobbyists and your electric bill – Editorial – Chicago Sun-Times

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Gas tax hike moves Illinois’ pain at the pump to No. 3 in U.S. – IL Policy

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More union fee refund lawsuits filed, could depend on Illinois’ Janus case – Center Square

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Illinois lawmaker files bill to let legislators refuse pay raises – Center Square

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Progressive tax uncertainty could trip Illinois’ already-stumbling economy – IL Policy

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Illinois Faces Challenges in Reaching Renewable Energy Goals – WTTW

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77,000 Illinois households could lose food stamps under proposed USDA changes – Chicago Tribune

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Unemployment Rate Down in All Illinois Metro Areas – IDES

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The Municipal-Bond Market Is Now Controlled by Just a Few Firms – Wall Street Journal

Concentration benefits firms like Nuveen and Vanguard, as well as some investors, but critics see risks if the market cools.

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O’Hare’s billions in broken promises – BGA

For more than 50 years, the airport has been plagued by corruption and costly delays. The politically connected cash in. Meanwhile, passengers trudge through a transit hub that persistently underperforms.

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New, stricter rules proposed for Illinois foster homes – Capitol News IL

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More than a third of family planning funds go to administration – Capitol News IL

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A green power seller reacts to pending industry reform—with sky-high prices – Crain’s

Retail power sellers will need to shift from month-to-month prices to fixed prices for 12 months under reform legislation taking effect next year. Here's how CleanChoice Energy, which has leaned on variable pricing in the past, is responding. Effectively, CleanChoice is saying that buying renewable energy certificates from Illinois wind farms, which allows it to make its green-energy claims, costs far more than RECs from out-of-state wind farms. That flies in the face of the message that the renewable power industry is delivering, which is that the cost of producing wind power has fallen dramatically in recent years and is competitive with fossil fuels.

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Op-Ed: Many links to Madigan in federal probe of Illinois corruption – Center Square

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Illinois congressman: Farmers are desperate for North American trade deal – Center Square

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Illinois capital bill includes $80 million for mental health facilities – Center Square

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One item to look at when Illinois’ (late) financial report finally appears – OPEBs – Truth in Accounting

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Central Illinois Home Sales Plunge in June – WCBU

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Feds investigating $10,000 in checks from ComEd lobbyists to ousted Madigan operative – Chicago Tribune

Records obtained by the Tribune reveal that the checks went to Kevin Quinn, a former top Madigan lieutenant and brother of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, after he was dismissed from the speaker’s political operation in early 2018 amid a sexual harassment scandal. The checks came from accounts linked to five current or former lobbyists for utility giant ComEd, including Madigan’s close confidant Michael McClain, records showed. McClain’s home in downstate Quincy was raided by the FBI two months ago.

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Illinois files response to lawsuit challenging $14 billion of state GOs – The Bond Buyer

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The feds’ surgical strike against Speaker Madigan’s allies – Chicago Tribune

There’s something particularly unsettling about federal agents barging into the homes of Speaker Michael Madigan’s closest confidants. The raids didn’t unfold at campaign headquarters or a law firm or a City Hall office. They were unannounced impositions into sacred spaces, into living rooms, along picture-framed hallways, near tossed shoes and empty coffee cups and unmade beds. They were personal.

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Good Samaritans flip overturned truck on busy Illinois highway to rescue driver, video shows – ABC

PHOTO: Good Samaritans rescue a driver after a pickup flips on the highway in Oak Brook, Ill. , July 22, 2019.

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Pritzker signs bills to protect immigrant youth – ABC Chicago

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6 Months In, Most Rookie Governors Are Thriving – Governing

Comment: The statist magazine includes Pritzker among those "thriving." As for the state itself, well....

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Illinois to share in $700 million settlement with Equifax – Capitol News IL

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Pritzker tops 100 bills signed with distracted driving, food stamp measures – Capitol News IL

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It’s Time to End the Inflated Pension Payments Robbing Illinois Taxpayers – Goldwater Inst.

"If neither the legislature nor the courts will enforce Illinois’s current anti-subsidy clause as written, taxpayers should demand that the state amend it, as Bolick’s book chapter recommends, to be more specific and harder to evade."

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Illinois Lawmakers Push Property Tax Hikes To Fund Affordable Housing – ZeroHedge

A republication of our Wirepoints article.

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Gonzales alleges Madigan, allies ‘betrayed democracy’ with sham candidates in primary – Cook County Record

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Illinois among eight worst states on revolving door lobbying restrictions – Public Citizen

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Cairo’s Hope Rests On Money And The Mighty Mississippi – TPR

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After a bill becomes law in Illinois, ‘obscure but powerful’ group implements it – Center Square

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Bill eliminating medical copays for prisoners sent to governor – Center Square

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Poll says Pritzker popularity sagging – JournalStar

In a Morning Consult poll on popularity of governors, Pritzker finished 42nd on the list with a 44% approval rating and a 33% disapproval rating. Another 21% were undecided. At the bottom of the list was Ned Lamont, a Democrat from Connecticut, with a 32% favorable rating. Curiously, eight of the bottom 10 governors are Democrats. The only two Republicans in the bottom 10 are Jim Justice of West Virginia and Matt Bevin of Kentucky. Contrast that with the top 10, who all happen to be Republicans.

Retire in Illinois? Not for this Dixon resident. – Opinion – SaukValey.com

I can no longer defend my home state to others who are constantly asking me about Illinois’ financial ills. Pritzker, Madigan, et al have reversed my decision and I will spend the remainder of my career living in Colorado.

3 other states, numerous public pension funds aiming to profit off legal weed in Illinois – Chicago Sun-Times

At least 14 pension systems outside of Illinois have put money into a publicly traded investment firm, San Diego-based Innovative Industrial Properties, that’s aiming to profit when recreational marijuana in Illinois becomes legal Jan. 1. No Illinois government agencies or public employee pension funds have invested, records show.

John Kass: Illinois After Boss Mike Madigan? Like Yugoslavia After Tito – Chicago Tribune

Madigan, like Tito, is an expert in holding rival constituencies in competition against each other. When he’s gone, whenever that might be, Illinois Democrats will become like their national counterparts, with a hard-left center and a far, far left fringe.

Latest Chicago pension fund reports lay out frail conditions – The Bond Buyer

Warnings about the weak health and liquidity risks of Chicago’s pension system abound in the funds’ 2018 financial reports. The net pension liabilities of the four city pension funds grew to a collective $30.1 billion in 2018 from $28 billion in 2017. The funds all recorded negative investment earnings after double-digit returns in 2017.

Illinois trade-in tax change: One example of growing affordability challenge – Automotive News

Starting next year, customers returning to the vehicle market in Illinois will find the advantage of a vehicle trade-in diminished.

Puerto Rico’s Bankruptcy Plan Is Almost Done, and It Could Start a Fight – New York Times

“If this works — if Promesa works and the restructuring works — it may make bankruptcy for states seem like something that lawmakers should be considering a little more seriously,” said David A. Skeel Jr., a University of Pennsylvania law professor who is on the oversight board and has written on the possibility of states using bankruptcy. “But if it doesn’t work, it would have the opposite effect.”

The ICC’s new chair is under the microscope, thanks to her father-in-law and the feds – Crain’s

A recent raid at ex-Ald. Michael Zalewski's home reportedly is tied to his desire for work from ComEd. The feds also subpoenaed the utility about its lobbying. All that will undoubtedly complicate life for the woman who runs ComEd's regulator, Carrie Zalewski

A Job Killing Business Killing Idea from Chicago City Council – Points & Figures

The ordinance is called Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance it prescribes how and when employers of companies of over 100 employees should inform employees of their work schedule.

Illinois Counties On Poverty Warning List Climb – NPR IL

Of the state’s 102 counties, 67 are on a watch list — or more serious warning list — created by the research arm of the Heartland Alliance, which works on social issues in areas that include poverty. That’s up from 52 last year.

Ralph Martire Op-Ed: Spending cuts have been made; state must keep focus on revenue – Daily Herald

"Illinois has reached the point where the fiscal focus should shift from spending cuts, to generating the tax revenue needed to fund an adequate level of public services -- a reality the Pritzker Administration is showing the rare political will to recognize."

Why you might pay more to buy a car in Illinois: a trade-in tax credit cap – Daily Herald

Car buyers are on the hook for an estimated $40 million extra in sales taxes thanks to an Illinois law starting next year that will cap trade-in tax credits for most motor vehicles at $10,000.

Currently, car buyers pay sales tax on the difference between the value of a new car and the value of the car they're trading in. But starting Jan. 1, car buyers will receive sales tax credit on only up to $10,000 of the value of their trade-in.

A fond farewell to state I love that doesn’t seem to love me – Daily Herald

Charlie Kirk: "I leave while carrying a sense of survivor's guilt. There are many people I know here who would like to leave but are trapped by individual circumstance. For them and for the state I love, I will continue to speak out on the excesses of government, but I will do so from a distance. You will still hear from me, I'm just sad we just won't be seeing each other as often."

They’re in the money – Editorial – News-Gazette

"God bless the black-hearted members of the Illinois House and Senate — they stand to get a windfall pay raise that will place them among the top-five highest-paid state legislatures in the country."

Meet the Illinois economy’s new chief booster – Crain’s

Erin Guthrie, the new head of the DCEO, may not be the state's top salesperson to businesses in search of places to expand—Gov. J.B. Pritzker is—but she's the one who hones and follows up on the pitch.

Economic Recovery Has Not Reduced Pension Debt for Many States – Pew Charitable Trusts

The disparity between well-funded public pension systems and those that are fiscally strained has never been greater. For example, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin had, on average, 97 percent of the assets needed to fully fund their pension liabilities in 2007 and remained at 95 percent funded or higher in 2017. Conversely, the three states with the lowest funded ratios—Illinois, Kentucky, and New Jersey—saw a drop from 69 percent funded, on average, in 2007, to 36 percent funded in 2017.

A chance to change the trajectory of our state – Opinion – Crain’s

Comment: We who oppose the progressive income tax "aren't genuine in now suddenly caring about the best interests of our working families," writes Quentin Fulks, who runs the pro-tax operation.

Community colleges weigh options for cannabis programs – Capitol News IL

Some community colleges and four-year universities in Illinois are exploring the possibility of launching educational programs to train people in the business of growing and marketing marijuana in light of a new state law legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana. There is, however, one significant hitch in that idea: Such programs could run afoul of a federal law that still requires higher education institutions to maintain drug-free policies.

Illinois Politicians Are to Blame for Tax Hikes, Not Washington – Daily Signal

The irony is that the same politicians who are about to pass these tax hikes have been howling for more than a year about the 2017 federal tax cuts, which they say raised taxes on the state.

The case of the missing Illinois CAFR – The Bond Buyer

llinois is the only state that has not yet published its fiscal 2018 comprehensive annual financial report and the officials who manage the process can’t put a date on its expected release. The absence of a CAFR is a blot on the credit of the nation's lowest-rated state, though it was able to adopt a budget on time this year and releases other reports and updates about its finances.